By Mark Stevens
ATLANTA, April 10. 2000 Olympic Games gold medalist Courtney Shealy and silver medalist Kristy Kowal are in the midst of a four-month, 30-school tour that will touch the lives of more than 12,000-students.
The world class swimmers are holding interactive
educational seminars at elementary and middle schools as part of the national Arby's Charity Tour (ACT).
The Tour, which has already visited eight schools and touched the lives of 3,400 children, is drawing rave reviews from school administrators around the Atlanta Metro area, where the program began. Because of the
positive feedback, the Tour is planning to expand the program in 2002-03. The Tour will move to Charleston, S.C., in early May.
Shealy and Kowal are teaching students six Values (Dream Big, Work Hard, Get It Done, Play Fair, Have Fun and Make A Difference), which are character building principles designed to "Make a Difference" in the life of a child.
Evan Morgenstein, President of Premier Management Group and Shealy's and Kowal's agent, commented:
"Courtney and Kristy have a strong commitment to young children. Through this program and their work with age group swimmers throughout the United States, Courtney and Kristy show why swimmers are the best
"It is very exciting to find a company such as Arby's that looks beyond just selling products and wants to make a difference in all type of communities through utilizing positive role models. I hope we can expand this program across the country."
Arby's Marketing Supervisor Vicki Spratlin contacted the swimmers to help implement the program after Kowal was quoted in an article before departing for the 2000 Sydney Games as saying, "I will miss my favorite pre-race meal: Giant Roast Beef with Curly Fries, Coke and a side salad from Arby's."
Courtney Shealy, a native of Columbia, S.C., won two gold medals (4×400 and 4×100 medley) in swimming at the 2000 Sydney Games and was a three-time NCAA swimming champion at the University of Georgia. Shealy
gained fame on the first night of Olympic competition, when she swam a personal best in the third leg of the 4×100 freestyle relay to help the foursome (Amy van Dyken, Dara Torres, Shealy and Jenny Thompson) finish
first in world record time.
Kristy Kowal from Reading, Pa., was a silver medalist at the 2000 Sydney Games, as well as, a former University of Georgia All-American swimmer. Kowal, who won the 2000 NCAA Woman of the Year Award, is a seven-time NCAA individual champion and holds eight American records and one world record.
The ACT is a series of golf tournaments and special events held throughout the United States to raise awareness and funds for local Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs, the Arby's Foundation and
other youth mentoring organizations.
The format of the Valuable Values program is a 30-minute interactive presentation followed by a question and answer period where the students are encouraged to give descriptions of their own values. Following the
presentation students are given a certificate recognizing each student for the value he or she most represents.